My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: MOH Dr. Fenton Ferguson launches Aedes Aegypti Vector Control Programme - Zika Virus not yet in the Caribbean but be vigilant for Brazilians

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

MOH Dr. Fenton Ferguson launches Aedes Aegypti Vector Control Programme - Zika Virus not yet in the Caribbean but be vigilant for Brazilians

“We are going to come very shortly with an integrated clean­up programme, (including) drain cleaning, but the citizens of the country must also take responsibility for their health, even as Government must lead the process” 

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, in an interview with JIS News about the implementation of a Vector Control Program to prepare for the coming of the Zika Virus

As many of my readers of my blog My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica and MICO Wars may know, I am no longer in Kingston. Rather, I’m back in the community of Milk River, located on the South Coast of Clarendon, worried about the coming Summer 2015.

The Minister of Health has finally announced on Tuesday May 26th, 2015 during an interview with the Jamaica Information Service Magazine that the MOH (Ministry of Health) planned to launch an Aedes Aegypti Mosquito Vector Control Programme to prevent the possible spread of the Zika Virus as reported in the article “Gov’t to Roll Out Vector Control Programme to Prevent Zika Virus”, published May 26, 2015 by Garfield L. Angus, the Jamaica Information Service.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson also made mention of coming Technical assistance from PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) with their Aedes Aegypti Mosquito Vector Control Programme.
A few days later on Friday May 29th 2015 more than one hundred (100) Senior Staff members of the Ministry of Health attended a National Workshop on Preparedness and Response to Zika Virus Infection held on Friday May 29th 2015 at the Knutsford Court Hotel to focus on the Zika Virus as reported in the article “Health Ministry embarks on vector control training programme”, published Saturday, May 30, 2015, the Jamaica Observer.  

More reasons for the KSAC (Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation) and the NWC (National Water Commission) to build a new waste-water pump station on Darling Street as explained in my blog article entitled “KSAC and NWC and the Raw Sewage problem in Downtown Kingston – How to restore order by making Downtown safe for Vendors and Shoppers” as the Sewage Water Downtown is a prime breeding area for the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito.

This is a good sign, as PAHO has helped Jamaica and other Caribbean countries in the past implement their Dengue Vector Control Programmes, to quote Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson: “I  had the commitment of getting additional support with our vector control programme, and more so, the integrated programme, for the control of mosquitoes”.

Profile of a Virus - ZIKV not yet Detected in the Caribbean but be vigilant for Brazilians

The Zika Virus has not yet been detected in the Caribbean based on reports by the Ministry of Health in Barbados as reported in the article “No zika virus cases in the Caribbean to date, says Barbados health ministry”, Published on May 23, 2015, the Caribbean News Now.

But now would also be a good time for member countries of CARICOM and their Respective MOH's to collaborate and put in place screening measures to detect persons with the Zika Virus at all our ports of entry into the Caribbean.

Like the Chikungunya Virus, it seems we are ill-prepared to face this threat and prevent persons  from becoming crippled and bed-ridden as predicted in my blog article entitled “Zika Virus is coming to Jamaica – Zero MOH Preparedness for Chikungunya Part II but Mosquito Repellant and Vitamin C works”.

The Zika Virus, also called ZIKV, has its origins in Brazil, so the public needs to be on the lookout for Portuguese speaking South Americans showing Symptoms of the Disease. The symptoms manifest within twelve (12) days after being bitten by an infected Aedes Aegypti Mosquito and are worth repeating in case you were hiding under a rock:

1.      Conjunctivitis
2.      Diarrhoea
3.      Eye Pain
4.      Headaches
5.      Joint and muscle pains
6.      Rashes
7.      Severe fever

The symptoms will last for four (4) weeks after initial symptoms begin to show. As the Zika Virus is from the same family as the Dengue Fever as well as the Chikungunya Virus, their is no Vaccine to prevent the onset of symptoms after being infected with the Zika Virus.

The same precautions relating to the use of Insect Repellant would apply as explained in my blog article entitled “21 Jamaicans now infected with Chikungunya Virus - DEET and Citronella are Trending Back-to-School Perfumes on the Playground”.

MOH Vector Control Programme - Be Prepared as only you can stop the Spread of the Zika Virus

So the announcement that the MOH is finally starting a Vector Control Program is welcome news, as this time around, they are being proactive instead of being reactive. We as Jamaicans can do our part by implementing your own Aedes Aegypti Vector control Programme in your own back yard:

1.      Destroy Mosquito Breeding Sites e.g. filling tyres with dirt and emptying containers of Water
2.      Storing Drinking water in covered containers or using a Water Tank
3.      Punch Holes in Tins before disposing o them
4.      Changing Water in Plant Vases to prevent Mosquitoes from breeding 
5.      Spray motor oil on Ponds so as to kill mosquito larvae

Finally, we have to make sure our bodies are prepared to fight off any infections. Eating a consistent diet of Fruits and green crunch, leafy vegetables that can be purchased in Downtown Kingston where I shop. 

Also, stocking up on DEET and Citronella based Mosquito repellant is an excellent line of defense, especially for toddlers and young children who are more likely to be bitten by the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito.

We would also stock up on Vitamin C as it can protect you from the more severe symptoms as explained in my blog article entitled “Vitamin C and the Chikungunya Virus - How to increase your Vitamin C Intake, Glutathione and Interferon by White Blood Cells”.

Ultimately, the MOH can only do so much with a limited health budget and a creaking Health sector as described in my blog article entitled “JMDA laments bad conditions in Public Hospitals - How MOH Audit will reveal Doctors and Pharmacists stealing Supplies for Private Practice”; reducing the potential impact of the Zika Virus is a matter of being prepared!    

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